Christmas is a season of indulgence, especially when it comes to food and drink. To compensate for December’s extravagances, January is often a month of austerity as people try to return to normal habits and even get a head start on the forthcoming year’s health kick.
For those dining out in January, heavy dishes and calorie-laden courses may not be their first choice and restaurants should take this into account by letting their menus reflect this. Trying to incorporate Next Years’ superfoods is a great way to cater to the health conscious but offering lighter alternatives and steering away from heavy dishes will also appease the public. So, from the kitchen to the bar, what should you keep off your January menu?
After stacks of potatoes, parsnips and mince pie pastry, it is no surprise that people would rather forego the bread roll to start. Starchy carbs are heavy and fill us up quickly, causing the bloating sensation that after a month of gorging, will feel far too familiar. Ensure you have a lighter option on the menu, a grain salad or a side of seasonal vegetables instead of roasted potatoes and chips. Lighter base pizzas or pies with just lids instead of full pastry encasement will go a long way to giving people a lighter option.
The festive season can be heavy on dairy, with cream and custard on puddings, bread sauce and the temptation of the cheese round. What felt like a treat mere weeks ago becomes a guilt you would rather avoid and creamy pasta sauces are pushed aside in favour of lighter alternatives.
Clear noodle soups and veggie laden broths are favoured over winter warmers and are great palate cleansers after traditional Christmas fare.
After a few too many at the Christmas party, Boxing Day and then again on New Year’s Eve, it is no wonder people are looking to give their liver a well-deserved rest. The alcoholic nature of Christmas, with brandy on the pudding and sherry left for Santa, leaves everyone wishing for a simple sparkling water.
Spending time crafting a mocktail menu will leave you in good stead. The soft drink options are often high in sugar, so if venues can offer adult flavours that are beautifully presented and visually pleasing, they are on to a winner.
After a month of candy canes, advent chocolate and dried fruit puddings, people are feeling the sugar intake and it all contributes to the January blues. Finishing off a meal out with another sugar laden chocolate extravaganza is low on the list of priorities. Though difficult to give up sugary sweets after some 25 days of having a chocolate for breakfast, people want an alternative to another laden dessert.
Providing a fresh fruit option or a light panna cotta is the perfect finale to an evening out. It allows people to feel they are making a healthy choice while still satisfying the sweet cravings from the month before.
Each family has different traditions surrounding the festive period, but the flavours are always the same. Weeks before, people were hankering after a Christmas menu or a seasonal latte, but after a month of turkey, cranberry and Brussels sprouts, many are ready for a change of pace.
Incorporating a cuisine that has no bearing on yuletide is a great way to change up the pace. Hosting a sushi night or taco Tuesday helps people out of the post-Christmas slump and allows businesses to flex their creative muscles.